It’s Easy to Kick Netflix

I own Netflix!  Well, at least a handful of shares.  I’ve bought more over the last few weeks.

Netflix vs. S&P 500
Netflix in blue 🙁

It’s been easy for commentators to kick Netflix this last month.  Necessary but unpopular changes went into effect with (to the average user) little warning.  Unnecessary changes (Qwikster) were announced and dropped.  This is the usual bag of comments:

Do We Really Need Netflix?

I dropped Directv a year ago.  I was paying $80 a month to watch John Stewart and a Rugby Match every week.  I found that, given the choice between TV and Netflix, Netflix won nine nights out of ten.

What the commentators are missing is the difference between entertainment and “instantaneous” entertainment.  Instantaneous as in sports, news, this season’s hit TV show and the latest “blockbuster” movies (delayed for months).  This is the same, not so fresh, instantaneousness that film producers are trying to eke a few more dollars out of as movie theaters fall out of favor.

Netflix eschewed this content from the start and left that ground to competitors to scrap over.  Coming from the DVD distribution business, they knew in advance that their customers didn’t much care for fresh so much as for quality.

So when commentators speak about Netflix not having a “moat” for the streaming business, they’re really talking about that tiny slice of current content that Hulu and Amazon are fighting for.  Netflix’s moat (which I hope they now understand) is the sheer depth of their content when the DVD and streaming are combined.

In the last month I’ve watched obscure anime (Darker than Black, Clannad) and two series (Criminal Minds, Eureka).  Next week I’ll have a Jean Cocteau film festival every night.  That’s leaving out the documentaries.  Sure, maybe I’ll be lured by Hulu or Vudu or whatever.  Maybe I’ll check out what they have to offer.  Will it match up to the kind of expectations that Netflix has instilled in me?  Not a chance.

So, I still own Netflix.  I’ll probably buy more.

PS:  I wrote this before this evenings earnings announcement.  The stock is down to $86 after hours.  I’m putting in my order now.  All of you Benjamin Graham fans will understand.

Borders Books – A Sad New World

I’ve just experienced one of the worst usability fails in my life.  I was willing to give eBooks a shot.  I really was!  I’m not in favor of them and I don’t see a market anytime soon for the Kindles, etc. that are fighting it out in the market.  I’m an older gentleman and I like books.

But I’ll try anything.  Last month a friend gave me a Borders Gift Card, which could be used to order any of millions (apparently) of fresh new eBooks.  I had forgotten about it until I read a small excerpt from Robert Jensen‘s “Citizens of the Empire: The Struggle to Claim Our Humanity.”  Had to have this book!

So, off to Borders to test out the hot new technology.  My first discovery was that this book was not available as a download, but could be purchased for $11.95.  So…quickly over to Amazon and purchased used for $3.00.

That being settled, back to Borders to use the card.  Professor Jensen’s latest book was available for download at a price of $13.09.  WoooHoo!  I’ll be reading it while I wait for Amazon.  But first, it seemed likely that I should install the Borders eReader.  And I did.  OK, all set.  Purchased the download and downloaded.

But wait.  This download doesn’t work with the eReader software.  It’s some specific form of wrapped pdf that requires Adobe Digital Editions.  To be fair, Borders warned me that I might need to install this software when I downloaded.  But of course I passed.  I have the Borders eReader installed, right?  That must be the proper software to use when reading a Border’s download.  Right?

So…another install, another “account,” as in “give us your personal details so that we can send you spam every day!”

But that didn’t work.  Something else had installed, called the Desktop, or some such.  At any rate, I’ve given out my personal information to three different entities in order to install three different softwares, none of which has displayed the downloaded eBook.

Finally I struck on downloading the file again and opening with the Adobe software.  Success!  The software opened with…the right title but the wrong book.  Something called “Dizzying Heights” by Bruce Ducker.  That about did it.  I’m in hell.

OK, sent in comment to “Customer Care.”  More later.